Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt — Vice President Joe Biden issued the following statement today after his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak:
“I am grateful to President Mubarak for his hospitality, and for the opportunity to discuss a broad range of issues. Egypt and the United States are partners in a shared desire to see peace and economic prosperity in the Middle East, North Africa, and Sudan. I thank Egypt for the leadership role it has played in supporting these priorities.
“Today, President Mubarak and I reiterated our commitment to reaching a comprehensive peace in the region. The United States recognizes and appreciates Egypt’s leadership in support for these efforts. The status quo is unsustainable for all sides. It is vital to make progress in the proximity talks between Israelis and Palestinians to enable the parties to move to direct negotiations as soon as possible that will result in an end to the occupation that began in 1967 and to a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel and a Palestinian state living in peace and security. In addition, we are consulting closely with Egypt, as well as our other partners, on new ways to address the humanitarian, economic, security, and political aspects of the situation in Gaza.
“In addition to the pressing priority of reaching comprehensive peace, we also discussed other areas of regional concern. We appreciate the vital role Egypt is playing in Afghanistan and its support for a strong, independent, unified and democratic Iraq.
“We discussed our serious concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. The international community continues to witness Iran’s non-compliance with its obligations to the United Nations Security Council and the International Agency for Atomic Energy, as well as Iran’s unwillingness to engage seriously with the P5+1 on its nuclear program. The United States remains committed to a diplomatic resolution to these serious issues, but we will continue to hold Iran accountable for its continued violations of its international responsibilities, in accordance with our dual-track policy. We expect to see developments in the United Nations Security Council to hold Iran accountable very soon. In addition to concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, we remain concerned about its destabilizing activities throughout the region, including with regard to its support for Hizballah and Hamas.
“We reaffirmed our commitment to supporting stability in Sudan, including Darfur, and the full implementation of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and preparing for the referendum on southern self-determination in 2011.
“The United States looks forward to a continuing dialogue with Egypt on a broad range of interests, including Egypt’s ongoing political and economic reform. Elements such as respect for human rights and the need to continue working for a vibrant civil society and more open political competition are vital for Egypt to remain strong and serve as a model to the region. Egypt has made commitments as part of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review, including accepting some of the Council’s recommendations. These commitments are important and I encourage Egypt to move ahead swiftly to implement fully those commitments and build upon that agenda.”